Playing Mama Bear

July 1, 2010 at 9:16 am | Posted in Career Moves | 4 Comments
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When I was in middle school and high school, there was this Big Brother Big Sister program designed to acclimate younger students to a new school under the guidance of an upperclassmen.  When it was my turn to be the big sister, I took my role pretty seriously and watched over my friends’ sisters as if they were my own.  I even took girls that were not assigned to me under my wing.  High school is tough and it’s so easy to fall in with the wrong crowd. I took one of the girls under my wing after word spread around school that a girl in my circle was going to fight her and I wanted to stop it before it happened.  She stayed a close friend of mine for the duration of high school.

I still like to play Mama Bear but of course the circumstances have changed.  I now enjoy mentoring younger or new workers, who mostly come in the former of interns.  I’ve had interns since I began working.  Two of my former interns actually now have my two previous jobs.  I enjoy imparting my knowledge on interns and guiding them the way I would like to be guided.  I’m not a tough ass, but I will teach you a thing or two.

I have had high school interns and college interns. I’ve had interns focused on many different things – none of which included taking coffee orders.  My interns work, learn, and produce meaningful products and results.  I’ve had interns ask me to write them recommendations and I’ve had interns speak highly of their experience working with me.  This makes me feel really good.  If I can help guide someone in career development, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.  Former colleagues trust my judgment when I recommend an employee to them, which shows great respect of my peers, so the good feeling comes from both ends.

I know I have a lot to learn. I’m not at the age where I think I know everything anymore, so my teaching style isn’t black and white.  I can learn from the young-in’s as much as they can learn from me. Funny how I never wanted to be a teacher yet I find myself teaching in a different way.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again.  I had some great mentors to look up to when I was first starting out. It feels good to give back and be a mentor to others.

Of Legal Age and Still Taking Advantage

June 10, 2010 at 7:49 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now, Life and Living | 7 Comments
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our room in Puerto Rico didn't have a fridge, so the sink took over

I was thirteen when I got drunk for the first time. It was off of scotch whiskey, taken from an old dusty bottle in my parents’ cabinet, put into a water bottle, and explained away as iced tea.

I was at my friend’s house, which was basically the place to be.  Everybody hung out there, which means everyone was there to witness me, little eighth grader with glasses, puking and swearing I had never drank before.  Everyone found it hilarious, including the upperclassmen that were there.  Needless to say, I got teased about that for a long time.

I remember keg parties, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and forties; drinking anything I could get my hands on.  It wasn’t hard to get alcohol underage in my town.  There was always an upperclassman with a fake ID or older brother willing to help corrupt us.

By senior year, my cocktail of choice was Long Island Iced Teas. I’d go to the local club and down about five of them and feel damn good.  I also had about four fake IDs, though I usually just chalked my own.

In college, while many people were first experimenting with alcohol, I was perfecting the practice.  I could be drunk as a fish and be able to convince anyone that I wasn’t.  I learned how to puke in a very clean way and very quickly, and was even recognized by the janitor as the cleanest puker he’d ever seen.  In college, the evening activity was going out and drinking, or staying in and playing drinking games.

Towards the end of college, I started to enjoy good quality beers.  I began to appreciate the art of alcohol. Today, I still enjoy a good beer, and the occasional tequila shot, some sake, or dare I ask for a shot of absinthe.  Now, a glass of wine is part of a nice dinner or a treat after a long day’s work. It doesn’t come in a box anymore. Now the evening activity is still quite often the bar, or hanging out at a friend’s place, but the objective isn’t to go out drinking (usually). It’s to hang out with good friends and wind down from work.  Oftentimes inebriation happens, and I’m still working on the whole hangover, mixing alcohol, thing.

Today when I walk into a convenience store and see the sign that reads something like, “You must be born before 1990 to purchase alcohol,” I immediate feel old. I’ve been drinking for 14 years already.  But alcohol, like any other pleasure in life, is something you have to learn to manage so you can enjoy it appropriately. It’s Thirsty Thursday! Drink up!

Stretch Armstrong No More

May 27, 2010 at 7:51 am | Posted in Fashion, Fitness and Beauty | 3 Comments
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When I was young, I was very athletic.  I played soccer, softball, danced, swam.  I was good at any sport I tried.  In fifth grade, I was awarded the Presidential Physical Fitness Award – I was the only girl that got this award that year, which tested speed, agility, strength, and flexibility against a national standard.  In 4th grade, I had a good friend who took gymnastics.  During recess, she would teach me new moves.  I could do hand stands, cartwheels, round-offs, splits.  I was pretty good for not having any training.  She tried to teach me how to do a front handspring, and what we ended up with was a hybrid of a handspring and a flip.  It kind of became my signature move.  It looked pretty cool, especially when I got the landing perfectly (it was easy to over shoot it, and sometimes, under shoot it).  I used this special trick in our 6th grade talent show, and probably pulled it out a few more times over the years.

But as I got older, I became less and less flexible.  I didn’t keep up with sports in high school.  I had better things to do – at least more interesting things to do – at the time.  I didn’t totally give up on fitness.  In college, I took several gym courses and even taught one.  I worked at a gym near my hometown and went there regularly for a number of years.  I really loved to take classes and lift weights.

When I was away in college, I worked at a nearby elementary school in their after school program.  Somehow, I got myself looped into doing my special trick in a gymnastics routine for their talent show.  Mind you – I am about 20 or 21 years old at this point.  I started doing this thing when I was like 9.  When I found that I could still do it, I was in shock.  But it took a lot more nerve to do it.  I was so much more afraid than I was when I was young.  When does that fear develop?  So strange.

So yes, I could still do this move, even with the fear. But what it did to my body was just insane.  I literally could not move for days.  My back, my spine was just killing me.  I felt like an actual old person.  I don’t think that if I kept up with any of my sports activities, it would have made a difference.  I think (gulp) I’m just too old for this kind of behavior.

I will always remember my athletic triumphs. How I beat all the boys in the rope climbing competition in 4th grade, my amazing high pop catch in a split in 5th grade which landed me a much coveted spot on the in field.  But I have to understand that my body isn’t what it used to be.  I’m not a kid anymore!  Sigh.

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